By Audrey Okaneko
When my children were young, we had so much fun with birthday parties. Each year we did something different from the year before. Some years our themes allowed us to invite several children and some years our themes allowed us to only invite a small amount of other children.
When my daughter turned 3, we invited our local family members and about 5 other families. We had child appropriate activities, plus lunch and then Barny came. This was the period of time when Barny was sooooo popular with kids. We had hired a local party entertainer who rented the Barnie costume and then came and sang songs with the kids for an hour. It was perfect. The party lasted about 3 hours including cake, presents, eating, singing and a few games.
One year we rented a moon bounce. I was told by the moon bounce owner that at this age, about 12 kids could fit inside. We invited 11 other kids and the moon bounce entertained the kids for almost the entire time. We did have time to eat pizza and cake, and open presents. The remainder of the time was spent in the moon bounce.
It has been my observation that games such as a pi?ata leaves many children bored and wondering around. Children want to participate which is why I recommend a moon bounce. All of the children can participate at the same time.
When my daughter turned 8 we had an arts and craft party. We were able to invite several kids to this party. We used the recreation room at the local park and had long tables, each with a different craft. The kids took home t-shirts that they used puffy paint on, picture frames that they made themselves and necklaces or bracelets that they strung themselves on fishing line. We provided an assortment of beads. We also had cake and ice cream and even had time for presents.
Our goal was always to finish the party in 3 hours or less. This allowed for eating, presents and activities. After 3 hours kids become bored and restless.
One party that I have such fond memories of was a dress up tea party. We had a home here in town that converted part of the house to a dress up parlor. They had several very fancy dresses, high heeled shoes, necklaces, clip on earnings and tiaras. In addition the women who ran this business put makeup on all of the girls and painted their nails. They then served sandwiches on china with mini china tea cups filled with lemonade. The kids had a blast. Every child brought home a photo of themselves all dressed up.
We had many parties where with the help of other moms we transported the kids to another location. Here is a list of several ideas of places to take kids for a party:
• Movie theater with pizza afterwards
• Ice skating or roller skating rink
• Children’s museum
• Miniature Golf
• A professional sporting event
• Batting Cages
• Children’s Gym such as Gymboree
• The Zoo (our local zoo is very small, so it’s easy to keep track of the kids)
My children always picked their theme and picked their location. Both of my kids have very fond memories of the many birthday parties we had.